The National Shipwreck Database of Sri Lanka (NSDSL) has recently been awarded the prestigious e-Swabhimani 2021 Merit Award, a testament to the innovative and groundbreaking work done by the Institute of Archaeology and Heritage Studies (IAHS) in partnership with the Central Cultural Fund, Maritime Archaeology Unit, and Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. This award-winning project has revolutionized the way maritime heritage is preserved, documented, and shared in Sri Lanka, placing the country at the forefront of underwater archaeology and research.

National Shipwreck Database of Sri Lanka landing page

e-Swabhimani Award

The e-Swabhimani is an initiative of the Information Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka aimed at recognizing excellence in digital application creation. Launched in 2009, e-Swabhimani has celebrated local digital talents for 12 consecutive years, promoting their achievements on both national and international platforms. The award stimulates interest in developing digital applications that cater to the needs of society, fostering a spirit of innovation and excellence in the field.

Rasika Muthucumarana and Anuradha Piyadasa with Award

The Institute of Archaeology and Heritage Studies ( is a renowned institution dedicated to preserving and promoting Sri Lanka’s rich cultural and archaeological heritage. Its latest collaborative project, the National Shipwreck Database (, showcases the institute’s commitment to using modern technology to document and disseminate vital information about the country’s underwater treasures.

National Shipwreck Database of Sri Lanka

The National Shipwreck Database is a comprehensive online repository containing detailed information about shipwrecks found in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. This interactive platform enables researchers, divers, and history enthusiasts to explore the fascinating world of maritime archaeology through high-resolution images, 3D models, and detailed descriptions of each shipwreck’s history, location, and significance.

Officially launched by the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksha, in December 2021, the National Shipwreck Database has garnered significant attention and acclaim both nationally and internationally.

National Shipwreck Database of Sri Lanka was official launch by H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksha, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in December 2021

The e-Swabhimani Award recognizes the NSDSL’s innovative approach to preserving and sharing Sri Lanka’s maritime heritage. The database serves as a valuable resource for academics and researchers. It plays a crucial role in raising public awareness about the importance of protecting these underwater sites from looting and environmental degradation.

We would like to extend our special thanks to Rasika Muthucumarana, Maritime Archaeologist at the Maritime Archaeology Unit, and Prof. Gamini Ranasinghe, Director General of the Central Cultural Fund, for allowing the Institute of Archaeology and Heritage Studies to participate in this groundbreaking collaborative project. Their support and expertise have been invaluable in making the National Shipwreck Database a success.

The Maritime Archaeology Unit team

Part of ember of Maritime Archaeology Unit team at Godawaya

We would like to extend our special thanks to the Maritime Archaeology Unit (MAU) team members for their invaluable contributions to the success of the NSDSL project: W.M. Chandraratne (Officer in charge, Maritime Archaeology Unit), Rasika Muthucumarana, Kamal Zoysa, Gamini Saman, Rukshan Priyandana, Indika Hewage, Sameera Karunaratne, Nadeeka Kumari, Chamal Gamage, Jinali Ekanayake.

Also we would like to thank Palita Weerasinghe, Amalka Wijesooriya, Mahinda Karunaratne, A.M.A. Dayananda, Nandadasa Samaraweera, Anusha Kasturi, Anil Dhammika, Asanka Ruwan Kumara, Kasun Weerasinghe, Divisha Athukorala, Chitralal Nandasiri, Ruwan Kumara, Indika Prasad, Senarath Weerasinghe, Ashoka Thilakaratne, Manoj Priyantha, Gayashan Srilal, Sanjaya Chathuranga, Asanka Smapath, Thilini Alvis, Iresha Sandamali, Kinkini Mallawarachchi, Lochana Liyanage, Suminda Madubashana, Lakmal Smarasinghe, Ruwan Jayantha, Ajith Shamal, D.M. Mahinda, Nadun Madushan, Prasad Chaminda, Krishantha, Ananda Munasinge, Dilan Chathuranga, G.G. Jayatilaka

In addition to winning the e-Swabhimani 2021 Award, the NSDSL has also garnered international attention and praise for its user-friendly interface and commitment to open-access information. By making this valuable data available to the public, the Institute of Archaeology and Heritage Studies has taken a significant step towards fostering a sense of national pride and appreciation for Sri Lanka’s unique maritime history.

As the first collaborative project between the Institute of Archaeology and Heritage Studies and the Central Cultural Fund, the NSDSL exemplifies the power of teamwork and innovation in safeguarding our shared cultural heritage. This prestigious e-Swabhimani Award serves as a shining reminder of technology and collaboration’s impact on preserving and celebrating the rich history beneath the waves.